Snowy Day Ode to Summer’s Cows

My friend Shelley just shared with me a lovely poem by Anne Sexton, Snow.

If you know this bright little ditty, you’ll recall at once its references to, for example, God’s socks…
Sexton also describes snow as being “like bleached flies” – how would one ever know? Me, i’ve simply never seen a bunch of bleached flies, nor verily not even one.
The closing image, though, took me back to many good years, and many good friends, who taught me a fair few things about patience, dignity, deep humour, and community day care.

Sexton’s poem closes:

There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
Today, God gives milk
and I have the pail.
Here is my answer, with thanks to the Ms. Sexton, and Ms. Shelley.

Responsorial Psalm After Anne Sexton’s Snow, in Honour of Summer’s Cows

life is good.

god is not my milkcow. but still

life is good.

and i have known some godly milkcows

aspects of divinity glinting

from hoof and horn and eye

humour in their well-aimed tails

flanks swelled

like buddha’s belly

against my cheek

– thus i have no need to seek the buddha

in meditation, i have leaned against

warm rumbling goddess bellies

finding the rhythm

in hands, breath, voice

to match their heaven-scented air

the sure, epochal  grind of bottom teeth

cows need own no upper incisors

how the goddesses sway across the fields

clover in their lips

hips cloaked in daring flies

(not a snowflake among them)

tails to clear the air.

no, god is not my milkcow

but my milkcow is divine

and life is good.

have you seen the cows

at coffeeklatch?

out on the hillside

maundering along the swell

of ridgetop in the sun

carefree and flirtatious

for one among their number

will always take her turn

to gather close the sistren’s calves

and lie in stately grandeur, in their midst

perhaps she teaches

chewing the cud

perhaps she shares old tales

of times long gone,

the auroch times.

see, even now, two bullcalves rise

and caper off with swaggering brows

to strut and butt and make believe

they are hairy, fierce and wild.

the old one burps and blinks

content, in knowing

they will soon enough come kneeling back

small square muzzles asking

where their mother’s udder might be

and the sistren, as if on command

will come, undulating  down the rise

each with eyes only for her own

and evening will settle

with its unbleached flies

buzzing counterpoint

to the tear, chew, rumble, belch

the green organic paean

of these queens of ruminant goddesshood

and life is good.

ams/Edmonton in the snow/December 12, 2013

For Blackie, Bossy, Socks, Bella, Ragus, Hattie and all the rest, especially the late, great Waffle.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. jjwalters says:

    beautiful . . . simply beautiful


  2. Hello there I am so delighted I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I was researching on Yahoo for something else,
    Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added
    your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do
    keep up the fantastic work.


  3. Trish Sewell says:

    I had forgotten Waffle. I snurf in your direction.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s